Burn Calories Through Dance with BollyX

How many more hours of cardio and weight-training can you do at the gym before you burn out? If you are looking for something new, Richmond has plenty of “weird workouts” to shake up the way you exercise. This week 8News Anchor Amy Lacey is trying out a new one each day at 5pm.

The music takes you to a faraway place, and the moves are straight off the set of a Bollywood film. A new class called BollyX brings the East to the West End.

“It has so much energy and pumps me up and makes me feel like I’m from India,” says student Elaine White with a smile. White has been taking BollyX since it started at the Gold’s Gym on West Broad Street.

Instructor Susheela Varky, who trained with renowned Indian dancer Padmini Ramachandran as a child and now is a belly dancer with the Queens of the Nile troupe, loves sharing her culture with people who have roots all over the world. “I feel like the movements are pretty basic, and once you get them you can really get a great workout,” Varky says about BollyX.

Each class includes ten or eleven songs. Some focus on the upper body. Others focus on the lower body. All are challenging enough to work up a sweat.

Amy dove right in and danced her heart out, which the regulars told her is part of the BollyX experience. Once you get comfortable with the steps, you can put your stamp on it.

“At first I was a little like, oh…and now I’m like heeeyyyy,” White says, showing off some of her dance moves.

“You learn the moves, you learn to be a better dancer, and it really is just a lot of fun right now,” Dr. Andy Melchert says. He started doing BollyX six months ago. As a chiropractor, he understands all the good he is doing for his body. “You’ve got to work at it. The muscles toned up, the joints moving smoothly and this fits the bill.”

The mind and soul benefit too. Each class ends on a high note.

“The big finale performance!” Varky says with excitement, explaining that the students run through the 90-second routines a few times, once or twice as two teams.

“We pick out one person on the other side and encourage them and get them to move it out and get it done,” Melchert explains.

The whole class then comes together for a spirited finale like you would see in a Bollywood film. “You’re working up to it and then you close and everyone’s psyched and joyous,” says Varky.

White says that feeling then carries on. “We just vibe together. We got this bond. It’s just a good thing to do. All around, win, win, win.”

BollyX founders say you can burn up to 800 calories during the 50-minute class. There are modifications for the moves if you have any injury or medical concern.

Like any new workout, make sure you talk with your doctor first before giving it a try.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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